The elementary school system


  • The elementary school system is mandatory which means that education for children and adolescents between the ages of six and sixteen is mandatory.
  • It is the parents' duty to see to it that their children register for and attend school. Application forms and more profound information is available on the municipalities' web sites and on most of the elementary schools' web sites. See my municipality
  • There are no entrance requirements at this school level and all children are accepted at the age of six years. The enrolment rate is 100%.
  • Pupils have the right to attend school in the area where they live. Furthermore, the school is to systematically integrate handicapped pupils into mainstream education.
  • Municipalities are responsible for the establishment and the running of compulsory schools, including the provision of special education. They pay for instruction, general teaching, substitute teaching, administration and specialists' services.
  • The school year lasts for at least nine months, beginning in the latter part of August and ending in June and the number of school days is around 180. Classes are held five days a week.
  • Compulsory school is divided into ten grades. Three types of schools are the most common: schools that have all ten grades, schools that have grades one to seven and schools that have grades eight to ten. Schools that have grades eight to ten are often merger schools, i.e. they take in pupils from more than one school in the catchment area that has grades one to seven. All compulsory schools are co-educational, i.e., pupils of both sexes attend.
  • Many municipalities provide out-of-hours provision for the children.

Elementary schools, run by the municipalities, are free of charge.

For more detailed information see:

Compulsory and specialized schools - see map

The educational system in Iceland

Upper secondary education in Iceland